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The Poison Eaters: and Other Stories Hardcover – February 23, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Big Mouth House; 1st edition (February 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1931520631
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931520638
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,629,547 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In this collection of short stories, all save two have been previously published in various similarly named high-profile fantasy anthologies: The Restless Dead (2007), The Faery Reel (2007), and The Eternal Kiss (2009). Here, they’re brought together to present a multifaceted view of one of YA-dom’s most prominent urban fantasists. Cults of immortality seekers clamor to get bitten by vampires in “The Coldest Girl in Coldtown,” and a teenager makes a chilling sacrifice to save a neighbor and the boy she thinks she loves. Ever mindful that forbidden romance is a natural waltzing partner with dark fantasy, Black slips a sly coming-out element into “In Vodka Veritas,” where a secret private-school sect turns prom night into a Dionysian frenzy. To close out the volume, Black performs a neat bit of tinkering with structure in the title story, as a king reveals to his son and would-be poisoner an ingenious and surreal plot to exact revenge through a trio of venomous-to-the-touch sisters. Fans of her novels will relish this one-stop resource for Black’s dark, edgy, and imaginative storytelling. Grades 9-12. --Ian Chipman

Review

“Black’s first story collection assures her place as a modern fantasy master…. Sly humor, vivid characters, each word perfectly chosen: These stories deserve reading again and again.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Black (the Good Neighbors series) proves equally adept at urban fantasy and more traditional fairy tales, and her stories often feature the edgy sexuality and angst that have become her trademarks.”
Publishers Weekly

"Black's got all the supernatural bases covered: vampires, fairies, an elf, a unicorn, wolves, the devil, and a spell-wielding high school Latin club.... Although they are often centered on bleak, dark characters, the pieces inspire hope, are touching and delightful, and even turn the most ghoulish characters into feeling beings."
School Library Journal

"Compelling, rich and engaging."
Bulletin of Ctr for Child Books

"Gritty, grim, and fabulous—Holly is a master of dark magic and dark reality!"
—Tamora Pierce (author of Bloodhound)

"Holly Black is the Real Thing: a gifted writer with a solid grounding in what matters. Her stories are dark and splendid blooms rising from roots sunk deep in myth and tradition."
—Ellen Kushner (author of The Privilege of the Sword)

"Simply put, Holly Black is one of our best writers. Enchanting and edgy, yes, but it's the big heart in her stories that brings me back to her writing, time and again. Reading a new book by Holly is like meeting up with an old friend. They might be a little messed up from the last time you saw them, they might have some serious drama going on in their lives, but the connection is immediate, and when they're packing up to head off again, you don't want to let them go."
—Charles de Lint (author of The Blue Girl)

Praise for Holly Black’s books:

“Black’s series [is] considered to have kick-started the fairy trend in young adult fantasy.”
New York Times Book Review

"Black has an eye for the telling detail that brings the most minor character to life."
Kirkus Reviews (starred)

"Dark, edgy, beautifully written, and compulsively readable, this is sure to be a word-of-mouth hit with teens, even a few usually unmoved by magic and monsters."
Booklist

More About the Author

Holly Black is the author of bestselling contemporary fantasy books for kids and teens. Some of her titles include The Spiderwick Chronicles (with Tony DiTerlizzi), The Modern Faerie Tale series, The Good Neighbors graphic novel trilogy (with Ted Naifeh), the Curse Workers series, Doll Bones, and her new dark fantasy novel, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. She has been a finalist for the Mythopoeic Award, a finalist for an Eisner Award, and the recipient of the Andre Norton Award and a Newbery Honor. She currently lives in New England with her husband and son in a house with a secret door. 

Customer Reviews

This is a wonderful collection of short stories by Holly Black.
Steven R. McEvoy
There is a nice publication history in the back of the book just in case you want to check and see which stories you may have already read.
K. Eckert
I thought it was a sweet story and I loved the main character.
Brittany Moore

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Steven R. McEvoy on March 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful collection of short stories by Holly Black. The stories span everything from faeries to a girl challenging the devil to an eating contest. Holly Black's diversity as an author, and her skill, is exceedingly pleasurable to encounter. One of her characters states: "It was readers that needed to be protected, he thought. Books were something that happened to readers. Readers were the victims of books." If that is truly the case, this is a great book by which to be victimized.

The collection of stories includes:

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
A Reversal of Fortune
The Boy Who Cried Wolf
The Night Market
The Dog King
Virgin
In Vodka Veritas
The Coat of Stars
Paper Cuts Scissors
Going Inside
The Land of Heart's Desire
The Poison Eaters

Most of these stories were previously published, but there are two new stories specifically crafted for this collection. These stories have an extremely dark edge and yet a poetic and often amazing sense of what it is to be human, and an assessment of humanity. If readers can be victimized by books, then they will be by this one. It will be an addiction that they cannot put down and one that will leave them wanting another fix.
Exquisit
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By La Coccinelle on November 1, 2011
Format: Paperback
I wasn't blown away by any of the stories in this book, and I don't think they'll make me want to search out the author's other works. Some were entertaining and creepy and thought provoking, and fans of Holly Black or urban fantasy in general would probably find something to like.

However, if things like typos, extra words, tense switches, and stories that can't keep their characters' names straight from one paragraph to the next drive you crazy, you might want to give this one a pass. I don't think I've ever seen such bad editing, even in some of the self-published books I've read. It's even less forgivable since this is a compilation of previously published stories. It looks like nobody could be bothered to give the book a basic once-over before it went to press. That's a shame, because it makes me think the publisher doesn't care... and if they don't care enough to do a basic edit to fix the mistakes, why should I care enough to give them my money?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By K. Eckert on March 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book is a collection of Holly Black's short stories. Overall it is a decent collection. It you are a huge Holly Black fan, like I am, beware that many of these stories appear in other anthologies. So, I had already read some of them. There is a nice publication history in the back of the book just in case you want to check and see which stories you may have already read.

The stories tend to be dark and follow paranormal/urban fantasy themes. Most of the stories are a bit ironic and have some sense of dark humor to them. There are a number of stories that touch on fairies, a couple that touch on werewolves, a story that deals with characters in books coming alive, one that deals with vampires, and a couple that deal with mythology. There is one story that takes place in the world that Black's Modern Tales of Fairie is in. There are twelve stories in all, they vary quite a bit in length.

I tended to like the stories towards the back of the book better. Among my favorites were: The Night Market about a girl who saves her sister from a fairy by braving the strange Night Market, Virgin a story about unicorns, The Coat of Stars a story about a costume designer fighting the fairy Queen for his lover's return, Paper Cuts Scissors at story about characters coming out of books and mingling, and The Poison Eaters a story about poisonous sisters.

There were also some stories that were a bit weak. The Land of Heart's Desire, which uses the characters from the Tithe series, wasn't the most interesting.

Overall though I enjoyed the majority of stories and am glad I read the book. It is a quick read, but if you are a Holly Black fan...or an urban fantasy fan in general you should enjoy this collection. Now I am looking forward to reading the start of Black's Curse Worker series "The White Cat".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Eric J. Spencley TOP 500 REVIEWER on May 31, 2013
Format: Paperback
It has been a while since I read something from Holly Black and now it seems my shelves are brimming. I have White Cat, Red Glove and I just finished Poison Eaters. It is so easy to shift back into Black's unusual quirky writings and I loved Poison Eaters. These stories featured some of my favorite characters from Black's cannon such as Roiben! Other stories I haven't seen before such as Coldtown and The Dog King. I have been in the middle of a huge reading slump for a few weeks but Black's short story collection pulled me back from the abyss. I will quickly go through each of the twelve stories in a few sentences.

--The Coldest Girl in Coldtown:
I loved this story, Coldtown is exactly the kind of place I do not want near and this story puts the scary back in vampire lore. It's not Edward waiting for you on the other side doll, it's a kick ass vamp who will lie to you this way and that for your blood.

--A Reversal of Fortune:
Oh how I wouldn't love to have an eating contest with the devil, however I am almost positive that I wouldn't have the luck or ingenuity of Nikki. Little Boo, I loved you!

--The Boy Who Cried Wolf:
This story reminds me to not take everything I read in books seriously and sometimes a great curiosity is better left alone rather than investigated.

--The Night Market:
Easily one of my favorites in this book, and it is darn hard to pick a favorite. I loved the fae in this story and I loved Black's vivid descriptions of the night market.

--The Dog King:
Take it from me kiddies this is not the one to read right before bed. It is super scary stuff and fantastically filled with lore. By far my most favorite of this collection.
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